The $399 Intel Core i7-11700K processor slots into Intel’s Rocket Lake product stack at a price point that squeezes between two of AMD’s most popular Ryzen 5000 processors. The 11700K’s pricing should make it an attractive chip if you want the most performance from a mainstream Intel platform that you can get without paying the flagship price, but it faces stiff competition from the AMD chips that have dominated our list of Best CPUs (at least when they’re available at retail).
Cypress Cove, Intel’s first new architecture for desktop PC chips in six years, grants the Rocket Lake chips a 19% increase in IPC in most workloads. But the backported Cypress Cove (which was designed for 10nm) comes with a big tradeoff: Rocket Lake is still etched on the 14nm process and tops out at eight cores and sixteen threads. That’s a step back from the previous-gen 10-core Comet Lake i9 models and pales in comparison to AMD’s beastly 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X flagship.
Rocket Lake’s 19% IPC gain largely offsets the performance hit from the reduced core count, but it left Intel in a tough spot as it carved its product stack into Core i9 and Core i7 families — both series top out at the same eight cores.
The $399 Core i7-11700K fits the definition of being a lower-end Core i9-11900K with the same eight cores and sixteen threads as the $539 flagship. And you could also save some cash by opting for the graphics-less Core i7-11700KF (it’s identical in every other aspect) and score the chip for $374. That opens up a $75 gap between the 11700K and the Ryzen 7 5800X, which also doesn’t come with an integrated graphics engine.
To account for the vagaries of binning and to hamstring the 11700K to create artificial segmentation, Intel dropped the 11700K’s peak boost frequency by 300 MHz compared to the Core i9-11900K, reduced the memory frequencies in low-latency mode, and dropped its support for the new Adaptive Boost Technology (ABT). The ABT tech is effectively an auto-overclocking feature that doesn’t void your warranty, but the 11700K is a fully overclockable chip. That means that losing that feature, or the extra 300 MHz of peak boost speed, might not dissuade overclockers looking to save $140 over the 11900K.
|Suggested Price||Cores / Threads||Base (GHz)||Peak Boost (Dual/All Core)||TDP||iGPU|
|RKL-S Core i9-11900K (KF)||$539 (K) – $513 (KF)||8 / 16||3.5||5.3 / 4.8||125W||UHD Graphics 750 Xe 32EU|
|RKL-S Core i7-11700K (KF)||$399 (K) – $374 (KF)||8 / 16||3.6||5.0 / 4.6||125W||UHD Graphics 750 Xe 32EU|
|RKL-S Core i5-11600K (KF)||$262 (K) – $237(KF)||6 / 12||3.9||4.9 (TB2) / 4.6||125W||UHD Graphics 750 Xe 32EU|
|RKL-S Core i5-11400 (F)||$182 – $157||6 / 12||2.6||4.4 (TB2) / 4.2||65W||UHD Graphics 730 Xe 24EU|
The 11700K drops into a gaping hole in AMD’s product stack — AMD has a $150 gap between the $449 Ryzen 7 5800X, which also comes with eight cores, and the $299 six-core Ryzen 5 5600X. The obvious pricing gap in AMD’s stack should give the 11700K some breathing room for now, though AMD says that its upcoming Ryzen 5000 G-series chips, otherwise known as the ‘Cezanne’ APUs, will plug that pricing gap when the $359 Ryzen 5 5700G comes to market in August 2021.
However, the 5700G appears to target the downstream Core i7-11700 instead of the K series model, giving the 11700K the opportunity to thrive as a less-expensive 11900K and/or Ryzen 7 5800X alternative. It just so happens that Intel’s own strict segmentation impacts the 11700K’s performance significantly, reducing its appeal.
Lately though, the winning chip is the chip that you can actually buy. As such, the Core i7-11700K has benefited from one almost insurmountable advantage — availability. AMD has been hamstrung by supply shortages spurred by pandemic-related supply chain disruptions coupled with unprecedented demand, leading to price gouging on nearly its entire stack.
Supply is improving for AMD, though, and the Ryzen 7 5800X has been broadly available at or near its MSRP for roughly the past month. And supplies seem to be holding steady, setting up a pitched battle with the Core i7-11700K.
Intel Core i7-11700K Specifications and Pricing
We’ve covered the Rocket Lake family in-depth in our launch-day review, so head there for finer-grained details of the architecture and broader product family. Intel spreads the Rocket Lake (RKL-S) chips across the familiar Core i9, i7, and i5 families, but Comet Lake Refresh (CML-R) chips step in for Core i3 and Pentium. Those chips feature the same architecture as other Comet Lake chips but come with slightly increased clock speeds. You can learn more about them here.
Intel’s chip frequencies have become a confusing array of four different flavors of Turbo Boost, many with both single- and multi-core ratios, that differ based on each family of chips. We’ve narrowed these listings down to the peak boost frequencies in the table below, with each indicating the peak boosting tech used. You can find more information on Rocket Lake’s boost tech and a more expansive listing of all the frequencies here.
|Suggested Price||Cores / Threads||Base (GHz)||Peak Boost (Dual/All Core)||TDP||iGPU||L3|
|Ryzen 9 5900X||$549||12 / 24||3.7||4.8||105W||None||64MB (2×32)|
|RKL-S Core i9-11900K (KF)||$539 (K) – $513 (KF)||8 / 16||3.5||5.3 / 4.8||125W||UHD Graphics 750 Xe 32EU||16MB|
|Ryzen 7 5800X||$449||8 / 16||3.8||4.7||105W||None||32MB (1×32)|
|RKL-S Core i7-11700K (KF)||$399 (K) – $374 (KF)||8 / 16||3.6||5.0 (TB3) / 4.6||125W||UHD Graphics 750 Xe 32EU||16MB|
|Ryzen 5 5600X||$299||6 / 12||3.7||4.6||65W||None||32MB (1×32)|
|RKL-S Core i5-11600K (KF)||$262 (K) – $237(KF)||6 / 12||3.9||4.9 (TB2) / 4.6||125W||UHD Graphics 750 Xe 32EU||12MB|
|RKL-S Core i5-11400 (F)||$182 – $157||6 / 12||2.6||4.4 (TB2) / 4.2||65W||UHD Graphics 740 Xe 24EU||12MB|
|CML-S Core i5-10400||$182||6 / 12||2.9||4.3||65W||UHD Graphics 630||12MB|
|Ryzen 5 3600||$200||6 / 12||3.6||4.2||65W||N/A||3MB|
|CML-R Core i3-10325||$154||4 / 8||3.9||4.7 / 4.5||65W||UHD Graphics 630||8MB|
The Core i7-11700K uses the same eight-core 16-thread silicon as the Core i9-11900K, but there are a few key differentiators. The 11700K has a lower binning that results in lower peak clock frequencies of 5.0 GHz, a 300 MHz reduction compared to the 11900K, lower peak memory frequencies in low-latency Gear 1 mode (more on that shortly), and culled Thermal Boost Velocity (TVB) and Adaptive Boost Technology (ABT) support. Here’s a closer look at the disabled boost tech:
- Single-Core Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB): Fastest active favored core can boost higher than Turbo Boost Max 3.0, if below a pre-defined temperature threshold (70C) and all other factors adhere to TB 3.0 conditions.
- All-Core Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB): Increases all-core frequency when all cores are active and the chip is under 70C.
- Adaptive Boost Technology (ABT): Allows dynamic adjustment of all-core turbo frequencies when four or more cores are active. This feature doesn’t have a guaranteed boost threshold — it will vary based on chip quality, your cooler, and power delivery.
TVB frequencies only activate if the processor is under a certain temperature limit, but most motherboard makers ignore those limits. That means a chip with the tech will likely operate at the faster speeds regardless of chip temperature, at least on higher-end motherboards. That also means that culling the feature from the 11700K doesn’t have as much of an impact as the drastically reduced frequency ceiling — TVB only offers an extra 100 MHz for both single- and all-core boost frequencies.
Think of Intel’s Adaptive Boost Technology (ABT) much like a dynamic auto-overclocking feature that applies to all-core boosts but remains within warranty. ABT doesn’t come with a guaranteed frequency — peak frequencies will vary based upon the quality of your chip, cooler, and motherboard power delivery. Still, because the chip stays within Intel’s spec, it is a supported feature that doesn’t fall into the same classification as overclocking, so it’s fully within warranty.
Intel only offers ABT on Core i9 K and KF processors, but the basic principle and functionality of the feature should be portable to any Intel chip. That means Intel removed this feature from the 11700K simply to make customers pay more for it by stepping up to its most expensive desktop chips.
Intel lists the Core i7-11700K with a 125W TDP, the same as the previous-gen 10700K, but this only encompasses the PL1 (Power Limit 1) level that occurs when the chip operates at its base frequency. The 11700K jumps to 251W when it operates at boost frequencies (PL2 – Power Limit 2). That’s an increase over the 10700K’s 224W PL2, but both chips have the same recommended Tau (boost duration) of 56 seconds. As with all other Intel chips, motherboard vendors are free to ignore these limits if their motherboards have adequate power circuitry, so these limits are rarely seen on higher-end boards unless you manually force your motherboard to adhere to them.
Finally, the Core i9-11900K is the only Rocket Lake chip supporting DDR4-3200 memory in the optimal configuration at stock settings, which is called ‘Gear 1.’ This setting allows the memory controller and memory frequency to operate at the same speed (1:1), thus providing the lowest latency and best performance in lightly-threaded work, like gaming.
All other Rocket Lake chips, like the Core i7-11700K, only officially support DDR4-3200 with the ‘Gear 2’ setting, which allows the memory to operate at twice the frequency of the memory controller (2:1) and results in higher data transfer rates. This can benefit some threaded workloads but also results in higher latency that can lead to reduced performance in some applications — particularly gaming. We have yet to see a situation where Gear 2 makes much sense for enthusiasts. Instead, this setting is most useful for those chasing overclocking frequency records that don’t directly equate to real-world performance boosts.
The Core i7-11700K’s official top speed for the Gear 1 setting is DDR4-2933, and running DDR4-3200 in lower-latency Gear 1 mode is considered overclocking, which voids your warranty. Intel isn’t known for harsh memory overclocking restrictions when processing returns, but running memory beyond the spec does technically void your warranty. We’ve found that Gear 1 provides the best all-around performance, so that’s all you’ll see in our testing for this review. You can take a closer look at the performance deltas we’ve observed with the modes here.
Intel Core i7-11700K Test Setup, Boost Testing, Overclocking, and Thermals
If you’re interested in gaming and application performance, they’re up next (feel free to skip forward). We also include power and efficiency testing after the gaming and application tests.
Intel has recommended Power Level 1 (PL1 — boost power), Power Level 2 (PL2 — sustained power), and Tau (boost duration) variables for all of its chips. Still, motherboard vendors are free to exceed those recommendations, even at stock settings, to differentiate their motherboards. As such, performance has long varied by motherboard based on the respective power settings. Our standard policy is to allow the motherboard to exceed Intel’s recommended power limits, provided the chip remains within warrantied operating conditions.
As such, be aware that our stock settings reflect performance with lifted power limits to reflect the experience most enthusiasts will encounter, provided they top the chip with a capable cooler. We’ve used the Corsair H115i 280mm AIO liquid cooler for our tests, but be aware that lesser coolers will result in lower performance.
You can consult the charts above for test results highlighting the differences in performance, power, clock rates, and thermals for three operating modes: Stock settings with no power limits enforced, stock settings with power limits enforced, and an overclocked configuration (your mileage will vary based on cooling capabilities and power delivery).
We derive the performance measurements in the first two slides from a geometric mean of the performance measured during the benchmarks listed in the charts. As we can see, enforcing the Core i7-11700K’s power limits results in slightly less performance in multi-threaded work, but we’re looking at less than a 1% delta, meaning the chip already runs pretty hard inside of its power limits. As a result, unlocking the limits does little to boost performance. That leads to interesting results in the rest of the slides. We see little difference in single-threaded work, and once again, we see the common Rocket Lake trend of enforced power limits resulting in slightly faster performance in lightly-threaded work.
Per our normal routine, we put AMD’s boost clocks to the test in both single- and multi-threaded workloads (methodology here). To keep the charts ‘clean,’ we only plot the maximum and minimum frequency recorded on any one core during the test. The lightly-threaded tests step through ten iterations of the LAME encoder, then single-threaded POV-Ray and Cinebench runs, PCMark 10, and GeekBench.
There really isn’t much to chew over here. The 11700K performs exactly as we expect and frequently reaches its 5.0 GHz boost clock.
|Average Power (Watts)||Peak Power (Watts)|
|Power Limits Enforced||119W||188W|
|Power Limits Unlocked||150W||261W|
|5.0 GHz All-Core Overclock||223W||283W|
The multi-threaded series of tests runs the Corona ray-tracing benchmark, several HandBrake runs, POV-Ray, Cinebench R20, and four different Blender renders.
Things are a bit more interesting in the multi-threaded tests. We don’t see much of a performance improvement from lifting the power limits — the tests, which consist of a fixed unit of work, finish in roughly the same amount of time — but as you can see in the table above, we do see a big increase in power consumption. Keep in mind that increase in power yields less than 1% more performance, at least with our motherboard. That’s a terrible tradeoff.
Overclocking the Core i7-11700K proved to be a bit more challenging than we expected, as we couldn’t exceed a 5.0 GHz all-core overclock in a stable configuration. Try as we might, 5.1 GHz was elusive, so we settled for a 5.0 GHz overclock with a 1.43V vCore, load line calibration at Level 6, and a -2 offset for AVX2 (+2 over stock) and -3 offset for AVX-512. We also tuned the memory to DDR4-3600 with 14-14-14-36 timings in Gear 1. As you can see in the album above, overclocked power consumption peaked at 283W, but temperatures were manageable (AVX offsets help) at an average of 76C with a 94C peak.
Intel Core i7-11700K Gaming Benchmarks
Intel Core i7-11700K Gaming Performance — The TLDR
Below you can see the geometric mean of our gaming tests at 1080p and 1440p, with each resolution split into its own chart to give us a decent overall view of the current landscape. As per usual, we’re testing with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 to reduce GPU-imposed bottlenecks as much as possible, and differences between test subjects will shrink with lesser cards or higher resolutions. These are cumulative metrics, so individual wins vary on a per-title basis. You’ll find the game-by-game test results further below.
Compared to Intel’s other chips, the Core i7-11700K looks like a decent advance. The 11700K is 5% faster than the previous-gen 10700K at 1080p, but the 300 MHz clock reduction (among other factors) gives the bare stock 11900K (without ABT) a 5% lead. Overclocking the 11700K to 5.0 GHz brings it to a tie with the 11900K with ABT engaged, which is impressive given the 11700K’s lower price point.
The overclocked 11700K trails the overclocked 11900K by ~3% at 1080p, but that isn’t very meaningful given that most gamers with this class of chip will game at higher resolutions. As you can see in the 1440p benchmarks, it would be difficult to tell the difference between the two overclocked chips at higher resolutions based on raw fps measurement — they’re only separated by a few fps (slightly more than 1%).
Things change when we look at competing AMD processors. Due to its exceptional gaming performance and lower price point, if you’re only interested in gaming, the Ryzen 5 5600X basically torpedos the 11700K’s appeal. The stock 5600X is 5% faster than the stock 11700K at 1080p, and a mere 3 fps separates the two chips after overclocking, which is surprising given the Ryzen 5 5600X’s suggested $300 price tag. The two chips are closely matched at 99th percentile measurements at stock settings, but the overclocked 11700K does have a 5% higher 99th percentile fps measurement at 1080p (note that this could vary due to the silicon lottery associated with overclocking).
Flipping over to 1440p reveals more slim deltas, with the Ryzen 5 5600X leading at stock by 2%, while the 11700K takes a ~1% lead after overclocking. The Core i7-11700K does have noticeably better 99th percentile measurements at 1440p, with a 3.4% lead at stock and 7% lead after overclocking. We didn’t notice any outwardly visible signs of noticeably smoother gameplay during our tests with the Core i7-11700K, but those are appreciable 99th percentile deltas. That said, keep the measurements from the overclocked config in perspective — this could vary.
Overall, the performance deltas between these two chips aren’t dramatic, though the 99th percentile measurements do give the 11700K an advantage at higher resolutions. However, the Ryzen 5 5600X’s $99 cheaper price tag is very convincing if you can find the chip at suggested pricing. Paying 33% less in exchange for slightly lower 99th percentiles at higher resolutions is plenty attractive.
AMD doesn’t have a directly comparable competitor here, at least based on pricing, so the $450 Ryzen 7 5800X comes into the picture. The extra $50 buys you essentially the same gaming performance as the Ryzen 5 5600X, both at stock and overclocked settings at 1080p and 1440p, along with an additional two cores that help out if you’re after more than just gaming. Given the 5800X’s big markup over the 5600X, it remains a tough sell for the gaming-focused.
The Core i7-11700K offers solid performance in our gaming test suite, but you should look to less expensive alternatives, like the Ryzen 5 5600X or Core i5-11400, if gaming is your primary goal.
3D Mark, VRMark, Stockfish Chess Engine on Intel Core i7-11700K
We run these synthetic gaming tests as part of our main application test script. We use an RTX 2080 Ti for these tests to facilitate faster testing, but we use an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 for all other gaming benchmarks (we don’t include these synthetic tests for the preceding cumulative measurements). Synthetic benchmark results often scale linearly with increased processing resources, which unfortunately doesn’t happen often in the real world. However, they do give us insight into the theoretical performance we could see as game engines evolve.
The Stockfish test scales very well with increased core counts but also obviously benefits from other host processing resources, like cache capacity and interconnect speed. As we can see, the Ryzen 7 5800X takes a tremendous lead over the Core i7-11700K even though both chips come armed with eight cores and 16 threads. As expected, the Ryzen 5 5600X trails due to its six-core 12-thread design. The ten-core 10850K reminds us that Intel made some tradeoffs when it stepped back from ten to eight cores, but the 11700K beats its previous-gen counterpart, the 10700K, in a straight core-to-core competition.
We see a similar trend in the DX11 physics test as the 11700K slots between the 5600X and 5800X, but the Core i7-11700K takes the lead in the DX12 CPU tests that scale better with increased core counts.
The VRMark benchmark responds best to per-core performance, a mixture of clock speed and IPC throughput, and the 11700K takes a big step forward over the previous-gen Comet Lake processors. However, even though Rocket Lake has made marked generational improvements, the 11700K trails the Ryzen 5000 chips by significant margins at stock settings.
Borderlands 3 on Intel Core i7-11700K
It’s important to remember that the winner of the gaming battle between Rocket Lake and Zen 3 varies based on the title. The Core i7-11700K shows a few of the vagaries we see with it compared to the previous-gen 10700K. Both chips come with eight cores and the 14nm process, but dissimilar architectures can respond differently to some types of code. Additionally, the 10700K actually has a 100 MHz clock speed advantage at stock settings. These differences surface as the Core i7-11700K trails significantly behind the 10700K at 1080p and 1440p settings in both stock and overclocked configurations.
The Core i7-11700K effectively ties with the 5600X and 5800X at both resolutions, but carves out a lead after overclocking.
Far Cry 5 on Intel Core i7-11700K
Far Cry 5 finds the Core i7-11700K taking the expected lead over the 10700K in all tested configurations. This title tends to respond best to Intel architectures, and Rocket Lake is no exception. That results in two groupings in the test pool — Rocket Lake in the lead while Ryzen 5000 trails.
Hitman 2 on Intel Core i7-11700K
Hitman 2 doesn’t scale well from 1080p to 1440p, at least not at the heightened fidelity settings we use for the benchmark. We stuck with the 1080p test for this title because the same trends carry over to 1440p.
This title scales well with increased core counts, and that benefits the Ryzen 5 5800X as it enjoys a nice speed increase over the 5600X, allowing it to beat the 11700K across the board.
Project CARS 3 on Intel Core i7-11700K
Project Cars 3, long an Intel stronghold, swings the pendulum back in Ryzen 5000’s direction. This title responds incredibly well to the Zen 3 architecture, rewarding the Ryzen 5000 chips with the lead across the board at 1080p and a near-sweep at 1440p.
We see similar swings in the final three titles in our suite below, with each favoring one architecture over another.
Red Dead Redemption 2 on Intel Core i7-11700K
Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Intel Core i7-11700K
Intel Core i7-11700K Application Benchmarks, the TLDR:
We can boil down productivity application performance into two broad categories: single- and multi-threaded. The first slide has a geometric mean of performance in several of our single-threaded tests. The stock Core i7-11700K is 5.7% faster than the stock Ryzen 5600X, and 1.5% faster than the Ryzen 7 5800X. Tuning the Zen 3 silicon gives the 5800X a slight advantage, but the Ryzen 5 5600X can’t match the 11700K in any configuration. You would need to step up to the Core i9-11900K if you wanted a substantial increase in single-threaded performance.
The overclocked i7-11700K’s single-threaded result highlights an interesting issue that cropped up in our testing. Regardless of our settings, the chip sporadically dropped to 4.8 GHz on a single core during our LAME tests (and a few others), which indicates the chip dropped to the AVX offset during the test, while other processors do not. This unexpected behavior didn’t crop up in all our testing (most of the other single-threaded tests are within expectations), but it skews the cumulative ranking here. You should expect the chip at 5.0 GHz to perform roughly the same, if not slightly faster, than the stock configuration in nearly all lightly-threaded applications. We’re working to see if this issue can be corrected, and will update as necessary.
The geometric mean of our threaded applications finds the Core i7-11700K offering a slight boost over the stock and overclocked Ryzen 7 5800X, but in its stock configuration. The 11700K is 5.7% faster after overclocking, but we’d consider the two chips very closely matched at stock settings.
The Ryzen 5 5600X has two fewer cores, so it naturally trails by a much wider margin — the 11700K is ~31% faster at stock settings and 22% faster after we overclock both chips.
Overall, the 11700K is obviously better than the Ryzen 5 5600X if you prize performance in threaded applications, but that’s to be expected given the pricing and core counts. The 11700K is also competitive with the 5800X, though that does vary based on the type of application (more below), but the 11700K comes with a slightly more forgiving price tag.
Rendering Benchmarks on Intel Core i7-11700K
The Core i7-11700K leads the Ryzen 7 5800X in POV-Ray and goes toe-to-toe in several of the Blender workloads, but the 5800X takes the lead in a broader spate of threaded applications, like Corona, Cinebench, and Blender. Overclocking the 11700K either significantly reduces the deltas or grants it the lead, as we see in V-Ray, two of the Blender renders, and Cinebench.
Encoding Benchmarks on Intel Core i7-11700K
Our encoding tests include benchmarks that respond best to single-threaded performance, like the quintessential LAME and FLAC examples, but the SVT-AV1 and SVT-HEVC tests represent a newer class of threaded encoders.
The Core i7-11700K trails the Ryzen 7 5800X in our LAME tests at stock settings, but the chip suffers an odd tendency to drop into its AVX offset during a few single-threaded tests, like the LAME and FLAC encoders. That causes the chip to actually run slower after overclocking.
We test HandBrake in both AVX-light x264 and AVX-heavy x265 flavors. The 11700K and 5800X tie in x264 at stock settings, but the 5800X is noticeably faster in the x265 test. The 5800X also leads in the threaded SVT-HEVC test at stock settings, though the 11700K scores what is essentially a tie after overclocking.
Web Browsing on Intel Core i7-11700K
These benchmarks are almost exclusively lightly-threaded and reflect performance with all security mitigations enabled. The Core i7-11700K is surprisingly strong in these tests — it even beats the Core i9-11900K in Speedometer. The 11700K also sweeps the Ryzen competition, with the lone AMD win coming in WebXPRT 3 with the overclocked Ryzen 7 5800X.
Office and Productivity on Intel Core i7-11700K
The GIMP benchmarks respond exceedingly well to single-threaded performance, and here we see a similar trend to the web browser tests — the Core i7-11700K leads the majority of the tests, though we do see quite a bit more jockeying for position.
The Ryzen 5000 processors hold sway in several key areas, with far better performance in application start-up tasks than the Rocket Lake chips. The Ryzen 7 5800X also scores notable wins in a few other tests, like the overall Microsoft Office score and the multi-threaded PCMark 10 photo editing benchmark.
Compilation, Compression, AVX Performance on Intel Core i7-11700K
The timed LLVM compilation workload finds the Core i7-11700K beating the Ryzen 7 5800X by decent margins at both stock and overclocked settings. The Ryzen 7 5800X turns the tables in the NAMD test, though, which is a highly-parallelized benchmark that serves as the gold standard for quantifying the performance of simulation code.
Our y-cruncher tests are very interesting. As we’ve seen with other Rocket Lake chips, the 11700K demonstrates tremendous generational performance gains in the single-threaded AVX-512 enabled benchmark, but performance doesn’t scale as well to multiple cores. The densely-packed AVX instructions press the Rocket Lake chips to the edges of their power envelope, which likely results in limited scaling.
The Rocket Lake chips take a notable win in the Geekbench 5 cryptography, AES encryption, and SHA3 benchmarks due to architectural enhancements for these types of workloads. Zen 3 takes a big lead in the hanging benchmark due to its own hardware-based acceleration.
Intel Core i7-11700K Power Consumption and Efficiency
It’s no secret that Intel has dialed up the power with Rocket Lake to compete with AMD’s vastly more efficient chips, so you’ll have to ignore the higher power consumption if you choose to go with an 11th-gen Intel chip. As such, there are no real surprises here — the Core i7-11700K draws more power in every measurement than the Ryzen 5000 lineup, and also more power than its 10th-gen predecessor, the Core i7-10700K.
As you can see in our renders-per-day measurements, Intel’s Rocket Lake isn’t in the same league as Ryzen 5000 in terms of efficiency, either. You’ll have to turn a blind eye to the high power consumption if you choose a Rocket Lake processor.
Here we take a slightly different look at power consumption by calculating the cumulative amount of energy required to perform Blender and x264 and x265 HandBrake workloads, respectively. We plot this ‘task energy’ value in Kilojoules on the left side of the chart.
These workloads are comprised of a fixed amount of work, so we can plot the task energy against the time required to finish the job (bottom axis), thus generating a really useful power chart.
Bear in mind that faster compute times, and lower task energy requirements, are ideal. That means processors that fall the closest to the bottom left corner of the chart are best. That distinction still belongs to Ryzen.
The Core i7-11700K drops right into a massive pricing gap in AMD’s Ryzen 5000 product stack, which should leave it room to roam uncontested. However, if you can find the competing Ryzen 5000 processors in stock during these dire times of the global chip shortage, it’s hard to justify the Core i7-11700K for pretty much any use case. In short, that means the Core i7-11700K is basically the last resort if you’re looking for a chip in this general price range and can’t find one of the others in stock.
Below, we have the geometric mean of our gaming test suite at 1080p and 1440p and a cumulative measure of performance in single- and multi-threaded applications. Bear in mind that we conducted the gaming tests with an RTX 3090, so performance deltas will shrink with lesser cards and higher resolution and fidelity settings.
Given its pricing, the Core i7-11700K doesn’t justify that gaming-only rigs move up from less expensive alternatives, like the Ryzen 5 5600X or Core i5-11400 that are pretty potent at their respective price points. The Ryzen 7 5800X also falls into the same trap — it offers nearly the same gaming performance as the 5600X but has an untenable price tag if you’re looking to build a rig solely for gaming. The Ryzen 5 5600X beats the Core i7-11700K at gaming in its stock configuration but is $99 cheaper than the 11700K and $74 cheaper than the 11700KF, remaining our go-to recommendation for gamers.
The 11700K is technically slower than the 5600X and 5800X at gaming, but the deltas are slight, leaving it room to function as an all-rounder that’s more adept at applications than the Ryzen 5 5600X. The $399 eight-core 11700K is certainly faster in applications than the $300 six-core Ryzen 5 5600X, but the $450 Ryzen 7 5800X is the real competitor in the all-rounder contest.
The 5800X provides similar gaming performance and comes with two additional cores that provide a comparable level of performance in threaded work to the 11700K. The Ryzen 5 5800X’s suggested pricing lands at a $50 premium over the 11700K, but it has sold for ~$25 below that mark for the last month, and it’s available now. This chip consumes much less power than the 11700K, resulting in more forgiving cooling requirements and the ability to run the chip on less expensive motherboards that don’t require the full-fledged power circuitry needed to extract the best performance from the 11700K. Both of these factors reduce the 5800X’s overall platform costs.
Additionally, you can step up to 12- or 16-core Ryzen 5000 models in the future with 400- and 500-series motherboards, while the only option for a Rocket Lake upgrade consists of moving up to the 11900K, an overpriced piece of silicon that comes with the same eight cores as the 11700K. AMD’s 500-series chipsets also support PCIe 4.0, while Intel’s chipset does not, leaving you restricted to a single PCIe 4.0 M.2 socket on the motherboard.
Does the Core i7-11700K have room to operate as a more value-centric version of the Core i9-11900K? Sure, but due to its unrealistic pricing, the 11900K is already an underwhelming chip. Additionally, Intel artificially hamstrung the 11700K by removing support for two key boost technologies, thus allowing it to ‘justify’ the more expensive eight-core 11900K. That tactic worked — the 11700K is significantly slower than the 11900K at stock settings.
Typically we would expect overclocking to even the score, but the 11700K’s obviously much lower binning restricts peak overclocking frequencies. That means it often won’t match the stock 11900K even after heavy overclocking. Sure, the 11700K is arguably a better value than the 11900K given its price-to-performance ratio, but it’s still hard to recommend it as an alternative to a chip we also don’t recommend.
Both the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 5 5600X are far better values for their respective use-cases. Unfortunately for the 11700K, we have seen solid availability of the Ryzen 7 5800X for an extended period of time, and you can often find it below the suggested pricing. We continue to see spotty supply of the 5600X, but that leaves the other downstream Intel chips, like the 11600K and 11400F, as better solutions for gaming rigs than the 11700K.
That slams the door on the Core i7-11700K being anything more than a last resort that you should only buy if the Ryzen 5 5800X is out of stock and you need the productivity performance of an eight-core chip today.
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|Intel Socket 1200 (Z590)||Core i9-11900K, Core i5-11600K, Core i7-11700KCore i5-10600K, Core i7-10700K, Core i9-10850K|
|ASUS Maximus XIII Hero|
|2x 8GB Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 – 10th-Gen: Stock: DDR4-2933, OC: DDR4-4000, 11th-Gen varies, outlined above (Gear 1)|
|AMD Socket AM4 (X570)||AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 5 5600X|
|MSI MEG X570 Godlike|
|2x 8GB Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 – Stock: DDR4-3200, OC: DDR4-4000, DDR4-3600|
|All Systems||Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3090 Eagle – Gaming and ProViz applications|
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE – Application tests|
|2TB Intel DC4510 SSD|
|EVGA Supernova 1600 T2, 1600W|
|Windows 10 Pro version 2004 (build 19041.450)|
|Cooling||Corsair H115i, Custom loop|